Snobbery is the very opposite of courtesy and it is most damaging to the young for the reason that it renders more difficult the contacts with fellow beings out of which business, social and other successes must be wrought. For the reason that success in life, either material or social, is largely dependent on our acquaintances, and our demeanor toward them, I suggest all children should first go to the public schools, where they are apt to meets boys and girls who will one day be our best, and most successful citizens. Public school training will largely counteract a something in all colleges or universities that is apt to addle unformed minds. School-time acquaintances, formed by selection for their actual worth, may become a large, and useful capital in after life, in commerce, literature, art or anything else.
A sense of exclusiveness works harm to children by depriving them of that most valuable of schooling – the opportunity to test their innate powers by actual work and contact with the world about. A boy should become a broad-minded, independent doer, not an exclusive, dependent snob. Raising, if it is right, will insure to the boy force of will and character to overcome the obstacles he must meet in life. Rearing and education which do not accomplish that end are futile. So, I say: Let parental laws be directed against indolence; against fear of soiling clothes; against contempt for “inferiors.” Aim to make you children broad-mined men and women. Be careful what they read. Properly bred college young men who engage in business have great advantages in many respects over those whose education was neglected. The great danger that threatens the college man is snobbery. Too often instead of emerging with a broader outlook on life, the young graduate comes out full of the snobbishness, of “class,” and “clique.” Early training should aim to prevent this evil.
Parental example is all-important in the rearing of children. How can a child be expected to develop into a sane view of his relations when he hears his parents speak with contempt of supposed “inferiors,” the inferiority being based, of course, on nothing but the relative pecuniary conditions of the people compared. Some mothers and others seem to possess a refinement of innuendo, which would traduce the character of a saint! I have heard them directing their innuendoes against other people’s children, simply because they thought their own were better, or merely because others occupied a lower station in life than themselves. Sit on the porch of some hotel, at a watering place, and listen to the innuendoes, idle gossip, slurs, accusations and slanders! What idiocy for grown men and women to judge their neighbors by the pocketbook standard, ignoring all spiritual and intellectual standards that really govern!
Bring up your children with the idea that they are as good as their associates, but not better, by reason of their supposed superior ancestry, whether aristocratic or pluto-oleo-cratic. Social conditions may be very different tomorrow. Much depends upon wealth, poverty, environment or conditions over which we have little or no control. It is well enough to be careful with your children’s associates, but the discrimination must be just. Do not attach undue weight to the accidents of fortune. Try to grade your fellows by the criterion of character.